The Alexander County Board of Commissioners received a favorable audit report for fiscal year 2018 from Kelly Gooderham, Senior Accountant for Martin Starnes & Associates CPAs, at the board’s January 7th meeting.
Commissioners were informed that the county audit received an “unmodified opinion,” which means the CPA firm found no material misstatements that led them to believe the financial statements would be misleading to the reader.
Gooderham commended the Alexander County Finance Department staff for their professionalism and cooperation during the audit process.
She reported that the General Fund Revenues were comprised mainly of property taxes at 53 percent, local option sales tax at 23 percent, and restricted intergovernmental (federal and state grants) at 11 percent. Property tax revenues increased $182,484 (0.9 percent). Local option sales tax increased $354,296 (4.17 percent). The restricted intergovernmental revenues decreased $926,446 (18.2 percent), due to the state taking over administration of the subsidized child care program.
In terms of General Fund Expenditures, the three largest areas of spending include: public safety (30 percent), human services (25 percent), and education (18 percent). Public safety expenditures increased $730,237 (7.8 percent increase). Human services expenditures decreased $1,076,719 (11 percent decrease). Education expenditures decreased $93,210 (1.4 percent decrease), which was mainly the result of retired debt for the Alexander Central Auditorium.
General Fund debt balance as of June 30, 2018 totaled $6,883,656, with $1,550,323 (education) to be paid off in 2021 and $5,333,333 (public safety) to be paid off in 2026. Debt service payments for FY 2018 totaled $1,769,113.
Total fund balance decreased $121,522, which brings the county’s fund balance percentage to 31.01 percent of total General Fund expenditures and transfers, for a total available fund balance of $12,140,182. It was noted that the county’s fund balance is comparable to counties in the population group of 25,000 to 50,000 residents.
The Solid Waste Fund showed a net income of $88,283. The Bethlehem Water Fund showed a net income of $420,730, while the remainder of the county’s water and sewer funds had a net income of $344,389. The Bethlehem Water Fund debt was paid off in 2018, while the county water and sewer fund has an outstanding debt of $4,794,458 which will be paid off in 2035.
Commission Chairman Dr. Jeff Peal commented on the audit report, and expressed appreciation to finance staff.
“We’re pleased to have another clean audit and that we meet the state’s requirements for county fund balance, while working on some major projects throughout the county,” Dr. Peal said. “I would also like to thank the staff of the finance department because the annual audit process requires a lot of effort, and we are appreciative of the long hours they’ve spent on providing the information needed by the auditors.”